TO COMMEMORATE the 4th anniversary of this blog (actually marked last Thursday), I personally want to delve beyond the usual staple of television and radio insights.
In nine days, Metro Manila Film Festival is coming but I understand that everyone wanted to enjoy Christmas entertainment with their families, friends or even themselves in other forms due to the half of lineup being commercialized and I started to think about it.
Can we imagine if we have a theatrical release calendar akin to those in North America?
Christmastime is almost here and that means Metro Manila Film Festival is also near.
However, not everyone will troop to the cinemas because half of their lineup is commercialized, as some of them would find some other forms of diversion on how to spend their happiness in their pockets a.k.a. the 13th-month pay.
Despite this, the film festival naturally serves as a barrier, creating the seasonal cycle for regular local commercialized films for the year from January 8 until Christmas Eve.
Sounds great, right? But can we imagine if we can narrowly further down into the calendar for major film studios similar to those in America?
Movie marquees change every week to accommodate fresh theatrical releases. Unlike theirs where they change every Friday in which it determines the box office weekend, we change it every Wednesday except during Holy Week where Black Saturday is the release date when major malls normally resume operation. Thus, we have 50 weeks for general release, to begin with.
However, major Hollywood studios do not release their magnum opuses in certain months. These are the so-called “dump months” because they fear of inauspicious box office receipts and critical review figures.
The first part is due to cutting back their expenses from the preceding holidays, the harsh winter weather, Super Bowl & the awards season while the second part is due to young, potential moviegoers are heading back to school.
Imagine if the Philippines applied this concept. Where would it be placed?
Aside from January for the MMFF repercussion, we might as well include June for school openings – leaving four weeks each will draw down to 42.
Hence, there will be two ordinary film periods – the shorter one in time for Valentines’ Day until Mother’s Day and the longer one from July until Christmas Eve with one week in August set aside for the new and successful Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino, remaining with 41.
However, if the Film Development Council of the Philippines heeded the popular calls of extension for PPP to match those with MMFF, we will finally end up with 40 available weeks for ordinary films.
In terms of PR, most regular masterpieces would normally publicize up to its third week.
Divide 40 by three and disregard the decimals, a film studio could optimize their annual portfolio up to 13 films a year, exactly the number Star Cinema released their regular films back in 2016.
So who would benefit from the movie calendar reform?
The primary beneficiary would be the film company’s producers.
Firstly, screenwriters would be given much time to brainstorm and to store creative juices before pitching them all into the script.
Secondly, actors, particularly to those with active television roles, would have a very concentrated work-life balance.
Thirdly, the postproduction staff will have more time to create and to enhance their masterpiece’s quality before general release.
The other beneficiary would be the major film awards organizations. The proposed movie calendar reform would aid them in creating the criteria for eligibility and selecting its winners.
Of course, for there are pros, there would always be cons.
Film production companies would lose revenue and patronage base.
Its workforce can be demotivated, as breaks might give them too much time to procrastinate.
Last but certainly not the least is the stakeholders – cinema owners and moviegoers, where aside from getting a culture shock, they tend to lose revenue and patience, respectively.
So where would you stand? Do you agree with the movie calendar reform? Do you have modifications you want to hear and to expect? Let us know in the comments below and have a peaceful Christmas.